Thursday, October 19, 2023 3:35 pm
Sondra Pierce, age 81, of Decorah, passed away on Thursday, Oct. 19, 2023, at the Aase Haugen Nursing Home, Decorah, surrounded by her family after several battles with cancer late in life.
Funeral services will be at 11 a.m., Monday, Oct. 23, 2023, at the First Lutheran Church, 604 W Broadway Street, in Decorah, with Rev. Mike Wilker presiding.
Visitation will be Sunday, Oct. 22, 2023, from 4 to 6 p.m. at the Helms Funeral Home, 306 East Water Street, Decorah, and one hour prior to the service at the church on Monday morning.
Helms Funeral Home is handling arrangements.
Sondra Jean (Rosell) Pierce was born July 22, 1942, in Burlington, Iowa, the second of four children born to O. Vance and Norma (Gilson) Rosell. The family returned to Decorah shortly after her birth. She graduated from Decorah High School in 1960 and then from the St. Mary’s School of Nursing in Rochester, Minn., in 1961.
On December 9, 1961, she married her high school sweetheart, Darrell Pierce, in Decorah. Sondra worked as a nurse at the original Aase Haugen Home right after she and Darrell married as he continued his education at Luther College after four years in the Air Force. She and Darrell also lived briefly in Des Moines and Dubuque before starting a family.
Sondra and Darrell welcomed children in 1965, 1967, and 1970. Until her children were in high school and college, Sondra was a stay-at-home mom. This included homes in Decorah, Mason City, Charles City, and then back to Decorah in December of 1976.
With nothing else even remotely close, Sondra’s family occupied the top spot in her life. Her greatest joy came in making their lives better in everything she did. Her children frequently stated, “Mom actually enjoys working hard.” Her sons believe that this trait apparently skips a generation!
Sondra developed a love of reading early in life from her mother with frequent trips to the public library as a child, where her mother pulled her and her older sister in a little red wagon. She also nurtured a strong Christian faith from her beloved parents! If you asked her, she would claim to be her dad’s favorite child!
When her children were older, a “perfect afternoon” for Sondra included some work around the house, preparing the evening’s meal, reading a good book for a bit and a quick nap before the kids all returned home from school. Nobody enjoyed a nap as much as Sondra!
With her three kids all in high school and college, Sondra worked in the Luther College food service for a few years before she and Darrell moved to Clinton, Iowa, and then DeWitt, Iowa. While in Clinton Sondra served as a one-to-one paraeducator in Clinton Public Schools. She and Darrell retired back to Decorah in 2000.
Sondra and Darrell enjoyed many opportunities to watch their kids and grandkids play numerous high school and college sports over the years. While Sondra did not necessarily love the game of golf herself, she did have a hole in one at Clinton Golf and Country Club in 1992. Sondra’s favorite part of golf, however, was when Darrell would take the three kids golfing at Oneota in Decorah on the weekend and she would have the afternoon to herself… a little cleaning, a little cooking, a little reading… and a little nap!
Sondra loved to paint… not artwork… painting rooms in homes. She loved to help her kids and grandkids as they purchased houses and turned them into homes. She particularly loved painting the trim around doors and windows. Apparently raising her kids made her very patient!
After her husband’s passing in 2015, Sondra lived independently for several years, before then relying on her daughter and family for some assistance. She moved to the Aase Haugen Home in early 2021.
Sondra had a very high threshold for pain, which she bragged about and served her well until her final months, when she should have asked for more help addressing the pain she endured. Still, she was never one to complain!
Sondra is survived by her three children; son Scott Pierce and wife Lori, of Decorah; daughter Cara Smith and husband Todd, of Decorah; and son Bartt Pierce and wife Nicole, of Minneapolis, Minn.; as well as six grandchildren: Breanne Hocker (husband Cole), Bryce Pierce (wife Kristin), Soleil Smith, Hogan Smith, Khadijah Pierce, and Hayden Pierce.
She is also survived by her sister Judy and husband Randy; sister Mary and husband José; brother Robert and wife Allyn; brother-in-law Steve and wife Carol; and five nephews and a niece, as well as many cousins.
She was preceded in death by her parents, her in-laws, and her beloved husband, Darrell.
If she were still here, she would want to thank the people at Aase Haugen and WinnMed Hospice Center for all they did for her in the last few years and months of her life! In lieu of flowers, memorials may be directed to either of these wonderful organizations.